Back to School Picture Books


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Back to school is going to look very different this year. Many schools are doing remote only. Some are doing a hybrid model and others are opening back up but with masks and social distancing. The decision on parents and teachers is a hard one. The kids will do better in person but what if someone gets Covid? Hazel's school is offering the choice of everything inbetween. Each day we can choose to keep her home to learn remotely or bring her into school. Since it is a small school and they did eight weeks of summer camp without anyone getting sick, we have decided to send her in person. Today we are preparing for her new student orientation. Since it is a new school and a strange year our anxieties are high. It reminds me of the years where many of the books I am sharing would have been helpful. As the school year begins teachers and parents turn to creative books to help put kids at ease. Today I am going to share some new ones of those as well as some books to help younger kids begin learning concepts. We will start with a book about getting to school on the bus and first time fears.

Our first book is It's Not a School Bus, It's a Pirate Ship by Mickey Rapkin and illustrated by Teresa Martinez. In this tale for ages 3 to 6, it is the first day of school and when a young boy is getting on the bus for his first day of school he has many fears, but the creative and smart bus driver whispers to him what she has whispered to all the students, "It's not a school bus. It's a pirate ship." Pretty soon he realizes how fun it will be. He makes a friend and together they are ready to face anything even starting school.

I love the creativity in this book and how it gets the kids using their imaginations. It is such a fun way to ease some of the first day jitters. Plus I love how in the end the friends decide the classroom rug isn't just a rug but a magic carpet. Where will that thought take them and you?

Our next book is a fun one. It is All Welcome Here by James Preller and illustrated by Mary GrandPre. It is recommended for age 4 to 7. It is a book full of haikus. Each haiku is about someone's experience with school. There are the kids who are so excited for the start of school and those that are shy and anxious. The ages of the kids flip throughout the book as well. As such it doesn't flow for continuation but taking each haiku separately makes it an amazing book.

I love the idea of haikus to describe the feelings of the first day. It would be such a neat thing to do with kids who were learning about haikus or already knew them. I know this book is amazing for first day but also would be great for a haiku or poetry unit even with older kids.

This next book is not an official back to school book but I think it would be a great one for the start of school. It is You Are a Beautiful Beginning by Nina Laden and illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley. This book is recommended for ages 3 to 6 but is just a beautiful and inspiring book for any age. The book is full of reminders that are great for each of us to hear from things like it isn't the length of travel but the journey or not trying to be someone else but be yourself. This book is all about looking at everything as a beautiful beginning.

The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous and the sentiment is so sweet. The messages throughout it are perfect for any child (or adult) to hear over and over again. This is a must read book. Perfect for a classroom or a bedtime story.

Our next book is for those kids that don't color inside the lines and for the ones that do. It is When Pencil Met the Markers by Karen Kilpatrick and Luis O. Ramos, Jr. and illustrated by German Blanco. This book tells the story of a pack of markers that has a little issue--purple doesn't stay in the lines. The rest of the markers get upset with purple for not staying in his lines. He goes off to color on his own and meets pencil. Pencil sees the purple scribbles and know just what to do. Purple scribbles and pencil draws pictures around the scribbles making one a bunch of grapes, etc. The other markers see the fun pencil and purple are having and come to join it. They learn they don't have to always stay inside the lines.

Let's face it we all need to be reminded we don't have to be like everyone else. I love this creative way about acceptance of one's own abilities. I also love how it teaches that differences can be fun and stepping outside of one's comfort zone can be rewarding. So many great messages in here. It is such a fun and colorful book!

Our next books are a series of books that help teach concepts. They are by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas. The first is Cows Can't Jump which I was sent in both English and a bilingual Spanish copy, Las Vacas No Pueden Saltar. The bilingual book is a board book.

This book is a simple book with few words but teaches the movements of animals. "Cows can't jump, but they can swim." I didn't know cows could swim, did you? The book goes through different animals and says they cannot do the previous motion of the last animal but shares a motion they can do. It is a fun book and has cute illustrations.

Our next book is Cows Can't Quack. In a similar fashion this one shares the animal sounds. I am sure young kids will love reading this one and making the animal sounds.

The next book in the series is Cows Can't Spin Silk. It shares things animals can create. From making honey to building bridges the animals can create quite a few things. Again it is done in a simple and fun way. These books are great for animal units as well as reading units.

The final book in the series thus far is Cows Can't Blow Bubbles. This book shares different shapes animals can create. From the drip puddle of the cow to the hexagon of the bee and so many more. It is a great book about shapes as well as animals and a simple read. 

The Cows Can't Series is great for learning about animals in a fun way and about different animals. There are not too many younger children books that talk about albatrosses or silk worms. These books are fun and introduce many animals as well as their characteristics and talents. 

Now to get ready for the school year to begin. Are your kids going back in person?